Saturday, September 26, 2015

Review of The Unforgiven by Gav Thorpe

Author:  Gav Thorpe.
Title:  The Unforgiven:  Book Three in the Legacy of Caliban.
Publisher:  The Black Library.
Copyright:  2015.
Pages:  446.
Price:  $14.00 (US).

Overview and Impressions:
I'm disappointed in the ending of The Unforgiven by Gav Thorpe.  It's as if someone from GW's corporate office told Gav Thorpe to write the ending so as to keep the storyline of the WH40K universe intact.  I'd enjoyed reading this novel until the last twenty pages.  Then everything went to hell.  I feel like I've been cheated for all the time I put in reading Ravenwing and Master of Sanctity.

Getting to the plot, the Inner Circle of the Dark Angels deal with Cypher, who's come to supposedly save the chapter from a Nurgle led daemon plot sponsored by Typhus, leader of the Death Guard chaos marines.  There's double dealing, treachery, and a chaos daemon located in the Rock, the asteroid that serves as the Dark Angels' HQ.  It seem the daemon can reverse time and prevent Lion El Johnson from being killed.  Typhus wants the daemon for himself.

The daemon is one huge macguffin.  It opens up the warp from 10,000 years ago to the present 41st millenium.  Things go haywire from there.  Supreme Grand Master Azrael has the creature send everyone back their own time frames, including Typhus & his Nurgle plague Marines.  But the Dark Angels are responsible for the destruction of their homeworld.  It's the old time traveler argument of going back and becoming your own granddad.  Ugh.  I feel ripped off.

This will be my last WH40K battle-force space marine novel for sometime...

Read more The Unforgiven by Gav Thorpe tonight...

I read more of The Unforgiven by Gav Thorpe tonight.  I'm on page 250....

Still reading The Unforgiven by Gav Thorpe

I read to page 213 today in Gav Thorpe's The Unforgiven.  I'd like to be at page 250 by the end of tomorrow evening.  And I want to be done with the book by the end of next weekend.  I'll see how far I get.  I'm still not far long enough to write a proper review.  The Unforgiven has been enjoyable.  But it's pure WH40K popcorn fare...

I started Beyond the Reach of Empire:  Wolseley's Failed Campaign to Save Gordon and Khartoum by Colonel Mike Snook.  This is a serious books for those interested in the 19th century Sudan campaign.  Unfortunately, I'm able to devote one day (Thursday) to reading it.  I didn't get far (about 30 pages). The book is over 500 pages long.

I'm revised my reading.  Monday and Tuesday are devoted to reading manuscripts from a local writing group.  Thursday is my nonfiction reading.  The weekends are devoted to reading fiction.  I'll see how this goes.  A disciplined approach to reading is the only way I'll catch up on my reading piles.  I'm probably looking at least 25 books (both hardcopies and ebooks).  I'd like to be able to done with everything in 18-20 months.  I'd go 24 months if I'm only reading 100 pages/per weekend of fiction.  It should probably be about 150 pages.

I spend too much time wasting time on television, anyway.  I'm try to just watch what I record on a DVR.  Or watch watch something live if I'm done with my reading for a particular afternoon.  That's what happened today...

Eventually, the reading pile will be under control and I won't have to worry about it.  LOL.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Reading The Unforgiven by Gav Thorpe

I'm at page 97 of The Unforgiven by Gav Thorpe.  It's the third book in the Legacy of Caliban Trilogy.  It opened with the surrender of Cypher.  The chapters have skipped around with different battles happening on the planet of Tharsis.  Nurgle plague marines are trying to invade the planet along with Chaos cultists.  I'd like to get further.  But I'm prepared to stop there for now.  I'll write a real review when I finally get done with the book.  That will be sometime in October 2015...

Friday, September 18, 2015

New reading material...

I started The Unforgiven this week.  It's the third novel in the Legacy of Caliban Trilogy.  I also began reading Colonel Mike Snook's Beyond the Reach of Empire.  It's about Wolseley's failed attempt to rescue General Charles Gordon and Khartoum from the Mahdi's minions.  It's about 500 pages.  It's going to take me awhile to read both of these manuscripts.  I'll have reviews when I'm done with them...

Packed up the painting table for several months...

I'm done moving all my stuff to my parent's house.  It took several weeks.  However, I won't be able to paint until December 2015 because of all the impending construction that will be happen at the condo.  I had to significantly downsize my figure collection.

I got rid of the following stuff:

1)  28mm Bronze-age Greek and Trojan armies for WAB 1.5 (unpainted).

2)  28mm Modern Afghanistan collection (painted).

3)  30mm WHFB High Elf army (painted).

4)  28mm Viking army (partially painted).

5)  28mm English Civil War armies (painted).

Here is what I kept.  Unfortunately, the storage area in the basement is full...

1)  28mm Japanese Samurai (painted).

2)  28mm Chosun Koreans (painted).

3)  28mm Mongols (painted).

4)  28mm 1882 British (painted).

5)  28mm 1882 Egyptians (painted).

6)  28mm 1879 Zulu army (painted).

7)  28mm 1881 Boers (painted).

8)  28mm Congolese natives (painted).

9)  28mm Arab slavers (painted).

10)  28mm Belgian Force Publique (painted).

11)  28mm 1890s British infantry (painted).

12)  28mm German colonial troops (painted).

13)  30mm WH40K Dark Angel Deathwing Terminators (painted).

14)  30mm WH40K Blood Angels (painted).

15)  30mm WH40K Khorne World Eater Chaos Marines (painted).

16)  30mm Warmachine Protectorate of Menoth army (painted).

17)  30mm Warmachine Steelhead Company mercenaries (NIB).

18)  30mm Warmachine Rhulic Dwarves (NIB).

19)  28mm Masai Warriors (unpainted).

20)  28mm German Colonial Marines (unpainted).

21)  28mm Sudanese Mahdist army (unpainted).

22)  28mm Vietnam US Marine infantry platoon (unpainted).

23)  28mm Vietnam ARVN mechanized infantry platoon (unpainted).

24)  28mm Viet Cong company (unpainted).

25)  18mm SYW Austrians (painted).

26)  18mm SYW French (painted).

27)  18mm SYW British (painted).

28)  18mm SYW Hanoverians (painted).

29)  18mm SYW Hessians (painted).

30)  18mm SYW Saxons (painted).

31)  18mm SYW Reichsarmee (partially painted).

This list doesn't include the 18mm SYW Prussian and 18mm SYW Swedes I'd like to get to round out my 18mm SYW armies.  Hauling all the unpainted lead in individual Rubbermaid containers up and down stairs nearly killed me.  I have enough stuff to keep me going for years.  Given enough time, I should get everything done.  Assuming I don't add to my lead pile!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

More moving and unpacking...

My roommate and I moved my computer desk and bookcases this afternoon to my parent's condo.  I spent the evening unpacking books and rearranging my downstairs office.  I set up my laptop and printer before organizing the books, CDs, and DVDs.  I also backed up files on my old computer and removed files from mom's desktop computer.  The only thing left is to put Norton 360 on my machine and hook it up to the local wifi server this weekend.  I'll then no longer use my mom's machine...

I didn't realize how many books I had until I unpacked everything.  I have over 9 bookshelves worth of books.  That doesn't include the nick-knacks from my vacations to Europe and South Africa.  Being anal retentive, I organized all my books by subject and then by author on my bookshelves.  I still have too many books.  They're heavy, lol. 

Most of my books are military history.  One small book shelf contains books on the Vietnam War and Indochina.  Another book shelf is Battery Press reprints of Victorian military campaigns and my collection of Wargames Illustrated.  One bookshelf has Ospreys, while another has all my house-rules in three ring binders.  Only one bookshelf is dedicated to speculative fiction and fantasy novels. 

If one looked at my private library, one would come away with the impression I mainly read military history.  Even that is an eclectic mix.  I have books on Iraq, Afghanistan, and Chechnya to the Franco-Prussian War, the World Wars, and Seven Years War, and different 19th century colonial military campaigns.  There are also books on ancient Egypt and feudal Japan.  That doesn't include my growing list of ebooks...

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Review of Master of Sanctity by Gav Thorpe

Author:  Gav Thorpe
Title:  Master of Sanctity - Book Two in the Legacy of Caliban Trilogy.
Publisher:  The Black Library.
Copyright:  2014.
Pages:  412.
Price:  $14.00 (US).

Overview and Impressions:

Master of Sanctity is the second book in the Legacy of Caliban Trilogy.  It's concerned with the Dark Angels and their hunt for the Fallen, traitor space marines who betrayer their primarch, Lion el Johnson, some ten thousand years ago when they destroyed Caliban, the Dark Angels' home world.

The novel features the 1st and 2nd companies of Dark Angels, namely, the Deathwing Terminators and the Ravenwing bike squadrons.  They are charged with capturing the Fallen.  Sapphon, the chapter's Master of Sanctity, deals with one of the Fallen, Astelan, in order to capture their leader, Cypher.  The Hunt goes from Piscina to the Nurgle daemon infested world of Ulthor to Imperial world of Tharsis where the Fallen are finally cornered when they lead an invasion of the planet against the Dark Angels.

Though this is a Dark Angel battle book, I found the number of Dark Angels involved in the fighting too Hollywood for my tastes.  But I lose with my Deathwing Terminators because of my propensity rolling "1s."  I shouldn't let my years of playing WH40K interfere with my enjoyment reading Gav Thorpe's novels.  This one was better than Ravenwing, which featured a bike attack of a space fortress!  The combined actions of Deathwing and Ravenwing companies worked well in Master of Sanctity

Recommended for Dark Angel fans.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Currenting reading...

I'm reading Master of Sanctity by Gav Thorpe.  It's the second book in The Legacy of Caliban Trilogy.  I'm at page 157.  I'll have a complete review when I get done with the book.  I hope to have read by the end of September 2015.  I also have The Unforgiven to read, too.  That's the third book in the series.

For those interested, it's a WH40K novel about the Dark Angels and their quest to track down Cypher, leader of the Fallen, who are responsible for the destruction of the Dark Angel's home world and the death of the chapter's primarch, Lion el Johnson.  My brother calls it wargaming ghetto porn.  I don't care.  I liked the first novel.  I'm enjoying the second novel.  So long as you know it's a release from The Black Library, it's simple popcorn fair.  The publishing arm of Games Workshop has attracted a few decent British authors like James Swallow.  Some of the books are awful like Legion of the Damned.  You have to find an author you like and read their works.  That way, you'll enjoy what you read.  That's what I've found with the WH40K novels I buy...  

I also went shopping for birthday and Xmas presents at a used bookstore today.  I found some buys.  I got my brother Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi.  He enjoyed Old Man's War (I didn't).  I also got him The Long Night by Poul Anderson and The Winds of Altair.  I got another friend The Last Chancers by Gav Thorpe.  It's a collection of WH40K shorts about Colonel Shaefer's "Last Chancers" Penal squads.  I added to my reading pile (ugh).  I bought a spin-off on Mike Shepherd's Chris Longknife series called Vicky Peterwald:  Target.  I also got a "Hammer's Slammers" novel by David Drake.  That's the problem with going to a bookstore, you'll wind up buying stuff for yourself.

Moving and other projects...

I've spent the past couple of weeks packing and getting ready to move.  All the books I had to give away are gone.  I'll spend this weekend and part of next week finishing my moving.  It's been gradual.

However, my painting table will the last thing to go.  I'm at my old place working a Warmachine Paladin of the Wall figure with some base coats.  I tried stripping a Warmachine Knight Errant squad with Pinesol.  I've moved on to Simple Green.  I'll see if that works.  If not, I don't know what to do.  I want the figures stripped.  But I don't want to kill myself.  No longer being an analytic chemist means I don't have access to organic solvents that would easily strip paint.

That's okay.  Otherwise, I'll have to give up trying.  I also have a 18mm fantasy orc football to finish for Mute Bystander.  I've had it for over 2 months.  Real life and my father's death got in the way of my painting.  I recently finished painting a 18mm SYW Reichsarmee infantry brigade.  I have another 18mm SYW Reichsarmee to prime and paint, also.  Then, there's the six month backlog of Warmachine Mercenary figures to assemble, prime, and paint, too, lol.

However, I did finish a novella about the Mongol invasion of Russia in 1223.  I wanted a novel.  I got a novella.  That's how most of my recent works have turned out.  I started writing it back in November 2014.  I got side tracked when I spent three months editing my first novel.  It's now on its third draft.  I then went back to writing the Mongol invasion novella.  I tried writing 1,000-1,250 words a week.  Steve King recommended writing a 2,000-3,000 words a day for an aspiring writer!

Again, life got in the way.  I took care of my dying father and ran errands for my parents.  It consumed much of my time.  I finished the Mongol novella last week.  I went ahead and line edited and revised the rough draft.  I'll bring it a local writers group for reading and critique later.  Have worked critiqued is my main stumbling block.  I can only have about 2,000 words read and critiqued each week.  It's good to have someone else give you feedback on your work.  I found it has been critical to my growth as a writer.

Given the fact I can only have so much critiqued, it governs what I can revise and edit each week.  Once I've have the individual critiques back, I edit and revise that particular section electronically.  Once I have a work critiqued, I then go back and edit it as a whole.  But I allow time between the completion of a critiqued work and the editing/revising of a particular piece.

My apologies for the boring litany of a writer, but it's whole I spend a good part of my time.  There's also keeping track of queries and rejections.  I have a pile of them.  A good piece of advice from a profession writer friend of mine was keep your day job.  Few make money being a published author.  No matter what someone may tell you...